Study Finds Sustained Weight Healthiest Aging Demographic

Gaining or losing weight show higher premature death rate

According to a new study, some of the overweight older individuals do not need to lose weight in order to sustain life longer. Instead, the study also shows that gaining weight will cause a higher likelihood in early death.

Researchers utilized data from the Health and Retirement Study, which is a nationally representative survey of Americans between the ages of 1931 and 1941.

A new study being led by Hui Zheng, who is assistant professor of sociology at The Ohio State University, analyzed over 9,500 respondents aged between 51 and 61 from 1992 and on. They were re-interviewed every two years until 2008, and researchers noted information regarding body mass index changes at each interview.

Zheng and his colleagues separated respondents into six groups, varying on the BMI scale and how it changed over a 16-year period within the survey.

Those who were slightly overweight and stayed steady in their weight had the highest survival rate. Those who moved from overweight to obese were second. The third highest group were those who had a normal weight and increased slightly, but stayed within normal ranges.

Those individuals who continued to gain weight while already obese had the lowest survival group. Those who were normal weight and lost weight also had a low rating. The study did attempt account for illness, but it is possible that those who were sickly had that to thank for the weight loss, and ultimately it skewed the numbers.

The study has since been published in the online journal of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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